Spanning 23 films over 12 years, the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe had plenty of time to build up to some satisfying payoffs - and make successful callbacks to moments that happened in films past.
For instance, after years of fleshing out Tony Stark's fractured relationship with his father, Howard, the character finally got some catharsis in Avengers: Endgame. Viewers got to see Nebula go from a supporting villain to a genuinely interesting hero. And don't get us started on Steve Rogers finally getting his dance with Peggy Carter. Put those MCU trivia hats on, True Believers, because we are going to go through the best payoffs in the Marvel movies that were worth the wait.
Vote up the best MCU payoffs and see which one rises to the top!
Captain America Lifting Mjolnir
In what is arguably the best scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the superteam tries to discover if any of them outside of Thor can lift his hammer, Mjolnir. Avenger after Avenger tries to do so, but the only person to even make the thing budge is, of course, Steve Rogers. But Steve gives up and Thor exclaims, "You're all not worthy."
Fast-forward to Avengers: Endgame, when Steve, Tony, and Thor are getting whipped around by Thanos like a bunch of chumps. Out of nowhere, Mjolnir starts to fly around, and it is revealed that Steve can lift the hammer - to which Thor replies, "I knew it."80828Satisfying payoff?
Captain America Saying 'Avengers Assemble'
To cap off one of the most "fan-servicey" sequences in the entire film, after all of the Avengers congregate at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers finally utters the line comic book fans had been waiting to hear since the first Avengers movie was announced: "Avengers Assemble."
That line is up there with "It's clobberin' time!" and "With great power, comes great responsibility" as one of the most well-known comic book phrases of all time - and you'd think Cap would've said it before the fourth Avengers flick.
It was teased before the credits of Avengers: Age of Ultron, but finally getting to hear it on film - and with dozens upon dozens of heroes fighting alongside the Avengers - was satisfying indeed.71722Satisfying payoff?
Falcon Telling Cap 'On Your Left'
The genesis of the "On your left" line comes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when Steve Rogers says it multiple times while continuously lapping Sam Wilson during a morning run. It is also spoken by Rogers to Wilson again near the end of the film while Cap is recovering in the hospital.
Avengers: Endgame was written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely - the same duo responsible for writing Captain America: The Winter Soldier - and they paid homage to their earlier work by having "on your left" signal a return of everyone lost at the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
It kicks off the eye-popping climax of Avengers: Endgame and is a delightful callback for fans.62237Satisfying payoff?
Tony Getting To Hug Peter After His Return From 'The Snap'
Peter Parker turning to ash at the end of Avengers: Infinity War is a heart-wrenching moment in a film full of them. And it is Peter's passing that serves as Tony's motivation for figuring out time travel in order to bring everyone back from Thanos's snap.
The audience can feel the joy emanating from Tony's face as Peter comes up to him during the Avengers' fight with Thanos at the end of Avengers: Endgame. The embrace the two share while Tony remains speechless is a touching moment between the young hero and his father figure in the MCU.60434Satisfying payoff?